2006 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Anne Tamar-Mattis
Name of Host Organization: Advocates for Informed Choice
City, State: Cotati, CA
Issue area: Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Children/Youth,
Anne Tamar-Mattis is establishing Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC) as an independent project. AIC is the first organization in the country to create a legal strategy focused on advancing the goals of the intersex community. It is estimated that one in 2,000 children is born with internal and/or external sex organs that are not easily labeled as male or female, due to a variety of conditions sometimes grouped under the term "intersex." Starting shortly after birth and continuing throughout childhood and adolescence, intersex children routinely undergo multiple surgeries and other medical interventions aimed at "normalizing" their physical appearance. In the last decade intersex adults have begun to step forward and assert that these interventions cause great physical and psychological harm. The organized intersex movement is now calling for intersex people to be allowed to determine for themselves whether to have irreversible genital surgery. AIC is a national project using innovative legal tools to end non-consensual genital-normalizing surgeries on intersex children. We engage intersex activists in strategy discussions, stimulate legal dialogue about the fundamental rights of intersex children and employ traditional and non-traditional legal tools to ensure justice for intersex children. AIC also uses existing communication networks to raise medical policy-makers' awareness of the legal risks of these surgeries. Anne comes to this project with over seventeen years of experience in community organizing and nonprofit organization management, primarily in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) and youth communities. She has been an involved ally of the intersex rights movement for many years and has worked with intersex community leaders to forge connections between the intersex and LGBT civil rights movements. Anne is the mother of two children and her partner of twelve years, Suegee Tamar-Mattis, is an intersex activist completing residency as a family practice physician.